3. Joe Burrow
Although the Jets overcame Cincinnati and Joe Burrow in the famous Mike White gamee, the Bengals will face the Jets as a completely new challenge. They are a squad coming off a Super Bowl loss and will be determined to repeat the same playoff journey in 2022, hopefully with a different ending.
Burrow took the second-year leap that many expected him to last season, hitting an incredible 70.4 completion percentage in the regular season. He has quickly established himself as a top-10 quarterback in the league, and a player whose swagger and magnetic play have been a fantastic addition to the NFL.
Last year, Burrow threw for 34 touchdowns in what was an undeniably superb breakout year. He conducted himself with maturity and poise, with an on-target throw percentage of 82.8, outscoring fellow nominee on this list Josh Allen, the only Bills player to receive MVP votes since 1991.
Combine this with the fact that Burrow was behind a more-than-shaky offensive line, where he was sacked a league-high 51 times, it makes his performance all the more brilliant. To perform the way he did behind this line, leading the league in yards per attempt, was something truly special.
Burrow's ability to perform under pressure is something that would make Sam Darnold somewhat jealous. Although his regular season was brilliant in itself, perhaps just as impressive was the way he conducted himself in the postseason.
He came up just short of winning Cincinnati's first Super Bowl in what was a valiant playoff run. To do this as a second-year QB is very admirable, especially considering this team picked second-year five in the draft the year before.
A newly ever-confident Joe Burrow will present a difficult challenge for the Jets, but they will have opportunities to disrupt his game. Despite the additions on the offensive line such as La'el Collins, it is still not one that is a top unit.
With Carl Lawson returning and offseason additions to the defensive line, the Jets defense will have hope they can throw Burrow off his game come Week 3.